USC RB Ronald Jones II declares for 2018 NFL Draft

Harry How/Getty Images
Harry How/Getty Images /

Junior running back Ronald Jones II announced his decision to leave USC Football on Friday, declaring for the 2018 NFL Draft.

Ronald Jones II’s time with USC Football is at an end.

The junior running back announced he will enter his name into the 2018 NFL Draft on Friday =.

Thanks to his explosiveness, quickness and physicality as a runner, USA Today’s Draft Wire called Jones II a “three-down player who could easily sneak into the first-round conversation” when draft time comes along.

However, with plenty of competition at the position, CBS Sports lists Jones II as the No. 4 running back prospect this year, ranking 28th overall.

Jones II may not be the top running back in the draft, but his decision to leave USC to take his chances in the pros is no surprise. Running backs have a short shelf-life in the NFL and another year in college would put extra wear and tear on the body which could ultimately shorten a pro career even further.

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Known as the Texas Tesla, and other nicknames, Jones II was an instant hit for the Trojans. He broke off a 44-yard touchdown in his debut game against Arkansas State in 2015. That 86-yard outing was just a taste to whet the appetite of USC fans. Jones went on to break Charles White’s freshman rushing record at USC with a team-leading 987 yards.

Though he started his second campaign with a slight sophomore slump, he exploded in the second half of the season, announcing himself with a dominant showing against Cal, posting 223 yard on the ground. For the second time in two seasons, Jones II led USC in rushing with 1,082 yards on the year.

With expectations high, Jones II then delivered even more as a junior. He scored a touchdown in all but two of the 12 games he suited up for and eclipsed 100 yards in nine contests. He also posted a career-best 1,486 yards and 18 touchdowns ahead of the Cotton Bowl, en route to All-American honors from Pro Football Focus.

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Jones II now sits fifth on USC’s all-time rushing list, passing the likes of Joe McKnight, Reggie Bush, LenDale White, Mike Garrett and O.J. Simpson during the course of the 2017 season.